Liquor opponents get no answers from aldermen

CORINTH — The Corinth board of aldermen has declined to get into discussion of what liquor rules it might put into effective if sales are approved by voters next week.

Liquor opponents pressed aldermen to announce how they planned to control how liquor is sold and where it can be sold.

Corinth voters will decide Dec. 11 whether to approve liquor sales in the city. Voters select either “for the legal sale of alcoholic liquors” or “against the legal sale of alcoholic liquors” on the special election ballot.

Beer sales are legal in Corinth.

The opposition group, called the United Drys, is composed largely of churches.

Rodney Whittemore, speaking on behalf of the liquor opponents, told aldermen that people have many questions about what may happen after the Dec. 11 election if liquor passes.

“Number one that has been asked by a lot of people: What is your intentions if and when the liquor referendum is passed as far as how it’s going to be sold?”

One other time when beer was voted on in Alcorn County, it was to be sold hot in stores only,” he said. “That lasted about a month. Are we going to have Old West style saloons? Are we going to have dance halls? The people don’t really know.”

A new state law changed the eligibility requirements for municipalities that may hold liquor elections. The petitions must include the signatures of at least 20 percent of the city’s registered voters.

Alcorn County was a wet county for 21 years until 1989, when Alcorn County voters ended liquor sales and, in a city election, Corinth voters said “yes” to beer sales. Liquor elections failed in 1993 and 2005.

The city can exclude package stores and limit liquor sales to by-the-drink only in restaurants. Aldermen said they also may have authority to restrict hours of sale at package stores and restaurants.

Aldermen said it was too early to discuss such details.

“I think it’s premature to make any decision before we know whether or not alcohol is going to be legal within the city limits,” said Alderman Andrew Labas.

“The city board will have to set a certifying ordinance in order for legal sales to occur, which would be no sooner than 30 days after we set that ordinance,” said Labas. “I guess the quickest it would be possible would be Jan. 12.”

Terry Smith, youth minister at Foote Street Church of Christ and president of United Drys, said the group will use radio and newspaper advertising, flyers, word-of-mouth efforts by their participants, a door-knocking campaign Saturday and a Monday-to-Tuesday prayer vigil to support their efforts.

 

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